11.24.2008

So y'all do that here too, huh?

Remember that one time I had to write a letter to the parents of L****? Well. I'm getting the mailing list together for Salt Lake County.

GH and I decided to class it up on Saturday by attending a high-school production of the Disney's Beauty and the Beast. We, for the most part, both really like going to high-school plays. They're cheap, they're usually pretty good, and you get to support a local high school drama program, thereby ensuring that another generation of choir/drama geeks will go forth with their penchant for gathering around pianos to sing at parties.

I know, of course, that when I go to a high-school play my expectations have to be modified. I expect that it won't be a professional production, that there may be some bad acting, that the audience will be extra vocal in its support of friends/family in the cast. But there's also a fun kind of energy about all of that, I think.

There were a few things I didn't expect, though. I did NOT expect that the couple behind us would carry on a non-stop dialog with their 5-year-old son.

"Look Timmy, it's the woods!"
"Oh, see how the scenery is changing?"
"Oh, look, he's walking up the stairs now!"
"Look, it's Belle!"
"See, he just went through a door!"

Um, is the kid blind? Because if he is then bringing him to a play is actually kind of mean, I think. Both to him and to us. We soon learned that the kid wasn't blind. Encouraged by his parents' style of narration, he began and maintained a steady stream of questions throughout the entire first act.

"But where did the Beast go? Where did the Beast go Dad?"
"Is he in the woods? Is he in the woods now?"
"Are they going to sing a song?"
"Is the Beast mad?"
"Is this the castle now?"
"Why are they singing?"
"Is he a candle?"

Now, I get the part where if you're a little kid and you're seeing a play for the first time, these will be things that occur to you--how CAN you tell if the scenery has changed, and where are people going when the leave the stage, and why is it that the characters look different from the way they are in the movie? All valid questions. Except the best time to talk about these things is really not during the play when everyone else is trying to watch it too. Mom made no attempt to shush him, or to tell him to wait and she would answer his questions when it's time to talk again.

I turned around eventually and looked pointedly at her. The woman on my right turned around and gave them a "shhh." The woman on GH's left turned and asked them to please be quiet.

Nothing. It never, never, never let up. Between that and the guy on the left of us who kept bringing out his cell phone to get a text update about the UofU/BYU game, I was losing my mind.

And I don't want to hear anyone bringing out the, "Hey, what's the big deal, it's only a high-school play and you only paid $7.50" excuse. Because that doesn't fly. Those students and their teachers worked hard putting that play together, and they have friends and family members in the audience who came to see and hear them, not some kid who is not yet ready to attend plays or the electric-blue glare of 8 million cell phones.

On the third offense I turned to the cell phone guy and mouthed that the light from his cell phone was quite distracting and could he please turn it off (it's kind of hard to switch out of librarian patrol mode when I'm off the clock, I'm finding). GH tried desperately to prevent me from doing this. He wanted to give the guy a pass for being at a play with his daughter instead of being at the game. Which, yes, is valid, but that doesn't mean he gets to blind me. I mean, maybe there were times during the play when I wanted to shriek like a monkey. Did you ever think about that? But I didn't. Plus, because there were so many people using cell phones it interfered with the wireless microphone system. So the sound at several points was quite bad. Can't believe they didn't think to make an announcement about that before the play started.

So by the time intermission hit, we were both done. We had planned to just move to some open seats during the break to get away from the kid and his parents, but the more we talked about it we realized that neither of us were that enthralled with the play. The girl playing Belle was great, but she was kind of the only great thing. You couldn't hear anyone who didn't have wireless mikes on, and there weren't enough mikes to pick up the sound from the big chorus numbers. So we came, we donated to the program, my brain exploded out my ears, and then we went home.

15 comments:

shelbs said... [reply]

Hahaha...
Was that at Skyline, Steph?

Nemesis said... [reply]

Ummmmm ..... perhaps?

Nemesis said... [reply]

It totally was, actually, but I didn't want to make them feel bad or anything. If I weren't so annoyed by the audience I'm sure I would have enjoyed the show more.

AmandaStretch said... [reply]

As a former high school theatre geek and current high school theatre choreographer, I appreciate your patronage and completely agree with your comments about the typical audience and performance caliber. :)

I, for one, am not looking forward to sitting through the parts I didn't choreograph of my latest show.

FoxyJ said... [reply]

In defense of my five-year-old, she has a running monologue during all movie we watch. It's really annoying. That's why she never leaves the house. I want my kids to be cultured, but it's not going to happen until they are old enough to behave in public and watch without bother other people. For most five-year-olds that's not an option.

cooldad said... [reply]

I might suggest a coorective action the next time someone behind you is doing something to conflict with your ability to enjoy the venue. You could sit on the back of seat thereby preventing them from seeing the play, screen, whatever. When they protest such rude behavior, you have your chance to reach a compromise. Of course, that would take some serious guts to pull off.

Barefoot Cassandra said... [reply]

I'm a theatre girl, and I hate the people who text during plays. It is an offense punishable of death.
On Friday I saw Alta Highs Oklahoma, and it was surprisingly wonderful. Except for the reserved seating, what like it's Broadway?
High school plays rock.

Theatrefolk said... [reply]

Pretty much everybody has some sort of home theatre setup these days, and they're accustomed to eating, talking, texting, etc. when they watch movies at home.

For some reason, when they see a live performance they forget that a) there are other people in the audience, and b) the performers can hear them.

Thanks for supporting high school theatre (it's my life's mission) and many apologies for the rudeness of the people sitting near you.

Audra and Levi said... [reply]

I hate rude people! I went to the So You Think You Can Dance show and 15 min into the show and guy gets up with his daughter and he was smack in the middle of the row and stood strait up blocking the view of 4-5 rows. I gave them the benefit of the douby, maybe his daughter has to use the bathroom... nope... he came back with a HUGE drink... therefore 15 min after they scooted back in during the dancing (which I think they should have at least waiting until in-between numbers) they had to get up again because after the huge drink they THEN had a bathroom break. They got up and down 3 times before intermission and those tickets ain't cheap! So, AMEN sister... I agree! I hate show spoikers and seriously... the score of the game is not going to change whether you know about it RIGHT then or not!

april said... [reply]

being a mom of a blind kid, i just like to say he would totally enjoy a musical. he LOVES music. as he is also non-verbal and mentally delayed, i will add that i would remove him if he was making too much noise on the speaking (non-music) parts. generally the different atmosphere and microphone sound keeps him happy - unless of course he gets too happy, and then giggle fits ensue and he sometimes has to be removed. this has happened in sacrament on occasion and if whispering in his ear doesn't calm him, we take him in the hall. i was left totally helpless and unable to intervene in our recent ward primary program as i was the chorister and my husband was out in the hall with our two year old. we had manuevered his wheelchair up on the stand to be with other kids. might not have been the best move as i was forced to listen to him blow (very loud) raspberries during two of his classmates talks. easily removal would have been a better option. oh well!! he's twelve now, so don't have to worry about next year.

@audra - just like to say how jealous i am of the "so you think you can dance" concert. maybe i'll fork out the money next year. i would love to see it.

Audra and Levi said... [reply]

Not to hijack... sorry Nem... but April it is SO worth it! It is me and my sister-in-law's splurge every year. We go out to dinner and to the show and act like we have money ;)! Then we always wait and meet everyone afterwards like little teenagers. I got some pics on my blog... it is Good times! My SIL saved her "allowance" (they are on a tight budget right now) to go!

Science Teacher Mommy said... [reply]

Good times. I was one of those drama geeks. Thanks for spreading the love to another generation.

Nemesis said... [reply]

You know what, April? As soon as I published this post I thought, "You know, someone who knows a blind child is probably going to comment here and show just how ignorant I am." I'm glad it was you, and that you did it in such a nice way.

And is it wrong that I totally giggled at the thought of your son blowing raspberries during other kids' talks?

Nemesis said... [reply]

Ooookay, folks. I didn't want to have to do this, but there's a troll infestation that apparently must be dealt with.

If there are any of you out there who persist in visiting my blog and commenting even though every word out of my mouth clearly makes your eyes bleed, this is your invitation to stop putting yourself through that. Or you can at least stop commenting, because I'll be deleting your nasty words.

Disagreeing with me is one thing, showing up every day just to be nasty is another.

april said... [reply]

@nem - glad jake (my son) made you laugh; it's one of the things he does best: make people smile. when i wrote the raspberry bit i did see the humor in it, but at the time all i wanted to do was to be able to go up to him and try to quiet him. everyone in my ward was understanding too though; and trust me, everyone in my ward heard him.

@audra- i'll start saving (after christmas that is) for those SYTYCD tour tickets!

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